Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes can Influence CVD Risk Later in Life


Dr. Nisha Parikh provides additional insight into the AHA's latest scientific statement, which highlights the need for greater attention and emphasis on the impact of adverse pregnancy outcomes on cardiovascular risk in women.

This article was originally published on

With the aim of improving cardiovascular care of women, the American Heart Association’s latest scientific statement highlights 6 pregnancy complications that signal increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.

The statement, which was published in Circulation, not only details the impact of adverse pregnancy outcomes, but also provides perspective on the influence lifestyle modification and race/ethnic background can have on cardiovascular disease risk among women who experience these adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and CVD

Adverse Pregnancy Outcome
Outcome association
Level of Evidence
Gestational Diabetes
Preterm Delivery
Small for Gestational Age
Large for Gestational Age
Placental Abruption

*Strength of Evidence "A" indicates multiple consistent cohort studies, meta-analyses, or both.
**Information obtained from AHA statement.

“Preventing or treating risk factors early can prevent cardiovascular disease, therefore, adverse pregnancy outcomes can be a powerful window into cardiovascular disease prevention if women and their health care professionals harness the knowledge and use it for health improvement,” said Nisha I. Parikh, MD, MPH, chair of the scientific statement writing committee and associate professor of medicine in the cardiovascular division at the University of California at San Francisco, in a statement.

With improving cardiovascular care and research among women a major goal of cardiologists and cardiology organizations in the US, the AHA released the statement with the aim of highlighting and recognizing the impact of adverse pregnancy outcomes when cardiovascular risk is assessed among women. Among the 6 specific red flags included in the statement were hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm delivery, placental abruption, and stillbirth.

Each of these aforementioned factors received a subsection of the document where writing committee members provided insight into the risk increase and research used to support the statement. Additionally, investigators also provide a table detailing the risks of specific cardiovascular outcomes associated with each adverse pregnancy outcome listed.

Also included in the scientific statement is a chart detailing an ideal cardiovascular screening timeline for pregnant women. This chart recommends postpartum assessments of cardiovascular disease risk factors and lifestyle counseling at 6 weeks, 8-12 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year. However, the chart suggests an Ob-Gyn should conduct the first 2 assessments and then recommends a care handoff to primary care providers after week 12.

For more on the statement and how to improve cardiovascular health of women, Practical Cardiology reached out Parikh for further insight into the AHA’s latest scientific statement.

This article, “Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: Unique Opportunities for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Women,” was published in Circulation.

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